Thursday, January 2, 2014

Welcome to Clef Notes!

Welcome to the 90.9 WGUC music blog: Clef Notes. My name is Jessica Lorey and I am the Classical Music Director at WGUC. Allow me to be your guide as you follow our new blog through the wonderful world of music.  

How does the music you listen to move your emotions? Whether it creates joy in your heart, stirs a somber mood, or brings back a memory from days past, every piece that you listen to conjures up some sort of deeper feeling within. The musical term for this type of emotion is “affection.” The word “affection” is used within the music world to describe an emotion created while listening to any given composition. The word originated during the Baroque era (period of music ranging from ca. 1600–1750) as an aesthetic theory known as the Doctrine of Affections. At the time, composers believed that only one type of “affection” (or emotion) could be moved at a time, and for this reason they would compose entire movements that would remain consistent in rhythm, texture, melody, and harmony. It was not until the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries that composers realized that they could play around with their listeners’ emotions by adding contrast and colors to their work. Use the word “affection” at your next social gathering and I guarantee you will sound impressive!

So tell me, how does music “affect” you? The purpose of this blog is to open up the world of music and discover how it enriches our lives. We’ll discuss major musical events, pieces, musical gossip, and how all of these matters “affect” us. I welcome your comments related to your own experiences listening to music. I hope this blog will be your connection to a community of music lovers and we can all discuss our discoveries within the music we love.


  1. First of all, thanks for all of your thoughtful blogs on music. Several of them stirred my thoughts, but I didn't take the time to comment. This one made me take action.

    Music has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, and its 'effect' on me varies. Singing with friends is one of the best mood-improving therapies I know, even when we sing, for example, Lenten music. Listening seems to work differently. If I know the work I remember prior involvements with it (listening, singing/playing, 'history'). I am surprised that an orchestral work can bring into my mind the memories of my playing it with a Cincinnati Youth Orchestra, one performance probably seventy years ago. Another work will cause me to remember a conductor who taught me performance skills. Another will remind me of past times in my life and let me contemplate them. Or perhaps I will simply enjoy the composition for its musical content. There are times when a work will bring out an emotion that I was unprepared for, that I could not identify with the music. And music will always be a major part of my personal practice of religion. Organ music, especially, can open my mind to spirituality in a wonderful way.

  2. Mr. Anderson,

    Thank you for your comment and for reading Clef Notes! You bring up a very interesting point that the way music effects us my vary depending on our experiences with the particular piece. Having a history with a particular piece certainly will conjure up certain moods in connection with your past experiences that may be different types of emotions than those caused by simply listening to a new work with no personal connections. You are also right in that performing a work may create its own moods in response to the music. Your post made me reflect on my own experiences. I play the flute and thus, whenever a flute piece that I have performed comes on the radio, I find myself paying extra attention and stopping my work to nostalgically reflect. That being said, there are also many works I have not performed that also deeply move me. Works by Debussy, Ravel, and Lauridsen, for instance, stop me from my busy schedule and cause me to reflect and contemplate life, calming any tensions in my day.

    Do you find that you gravitate toward particular composers or pieces of music when you are in a certain mood in order for it to stir a certain emotion in you? For instance, if you feel anxious about something, do you turn to certain types of pieces to calm you? Or if you are happy, do you turn to certain pieces that enhance your joy?